Art By Choice, Art For Life – Episode 6 & 7 with Stephanie

Art By Choice, Art For Life – Episode 6 & 7 with Stephanie

In this episode, we chat with Stephanie Leigh. Stephanie shares her experience of the art world in Melbourne, what ‘Feminist Art’ looks like, and the need for gender equality education in schools. Stephanie also dives deep into her experience of art as a business, and sets the stage for a great conversation around monetising and increasing exposure to art!


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About Stephanie

Stephanie Leigh is a Melbourne based artist. Working with painting, sculpture and installation, Leigh’s work draws on tropes of the historical and modernist canon such as the reclining pose, ideas about beauty, the naked fetish and cultural and political oppression. These concepts in her works are reconfigured in her contemporary practice to uncover modes of resistance and change that renegotiate female objectification.

Stephanie Leigh has achieved critical success as an emerging artist. In 2017, Leigh was invited to exhibit A Female at RMIT Spare Room. Following this Leigh is now residing at The Bayside City Council AIR program and in June Leigh has been invited to exhibit in La Niña for their female and non-binary femme artists show at No Vacancy

Listen now!

The Need for Equality

1 in 3 Australian women have suffered from assault.

1 in 6 Australian women have suffered from sexual assault. (source)

In a time and culture where equality, diversity, and freedom from violence are championed as rights for all of us, it seems absurd that so many of us still fall victim to these heinous crimes. Thanks to Stephanie’s conversation on our show, Toomas and I are more aware of the reality of that fact, and we hope that you, our listeners, will be too.

It was powerful, hearing Stephanie talk about her own experience of being cast out and put down due to her gender, appearance, and body. A stark example of a strong, funny, witty person, who has at some point or another been made to feel lesser for no reason other than the fact of her appearance.

Toomas and I might pride ourselves on our ability to come up with clever solutions to simple problems, but Stephanie helped us to realise that not all problems are simple, and not all solutions can be easily found. As discussed in this week’s episode, it is only through awareness and education of the kinds of behaviours that lead to assault, that we can begin to call ourselves a just society.

The Need for Art

Understanding that art is a direct means of expressing the artist’s feelings in a medium that they see fit, it doesn’t take much to realise the power of art. You may conjure up the pictures of sunrises you drew in art class in primary school, or that papier-mâché balloon you made, but for those of us who went on to pursue art for their living, it can mean so much more. Listening to Stephanie’s description of her work, and how she seeks to de-sexualise the female form in art, I was struck by a thought: How weird is it that we are taught that all female bodies in art and media must somehow be “sexy”? And how easily does that translate to the day-to-day, where men nudge each other to point out a good-looking woman? Have a look at Steph’s artwork, “A Female”, below. I am struck by the idea that this looks nothing like a “woman” as I would expect to see in art (think, ‘naked woman lying down on a divan’), and how great it is to have that notion tested!

You can check out Stephanie’s full catalogue, including upcoming exhibition dates, on her website:

The Need for Creativity

In amongst the deep subject matter we covered, it was also awesome to get Stephanie’s insight into some of our creative ideas. With Part 2 of the episode releasing on Thursday, we can’t wait to share those million dollar ideas with you all, but until then, I wanted to unpack something Stephanie came up with on the fly. When describing an artistic collaboration with the Aerospace Engineering students at her uni, Stephanie decided to put her pubes on a hypothetical spaceship, and then ask the question “Are my pubes problematic in space?” I’m sure as you were reading this story your feelings moved from shock, to disgust, to curiosity, and then to a hearty chuckle. But the question still stands: Are a woman’s pubes problematic in space? This creative approach to a widely discussed “issue” is at the heart of what we believe at Million Dollar Podcast, and we encourage you all to ask these creative questions. What questions can you come up with to challenge the status quo, and to push the boundaries? Whether to infinity… or beyond?

The Augmented Reality art Gallery

This idea is one I have been wanting to discuss with an artist for quite some time. Ever since I learned what was possible with Augmented Reality, and the ability to gain more information than was visible from something as simple as a QR code, I have been fascinated by the idea that we can embed information into small spaces, at low cost, that can be deciphered by our phones. An app that is an art gallery, wherever you are, excites me greatly. It was great to hear Steph’s excitement about the idea, especially after she explained that artists have to pay around $700 in rent just to be exhibited at a show, let alone the material costs of their work. By creating a digital gallery that is superimposed on our physical space, the cost for artists to show their work, and reach a captive and curious audience, is drastically lowered. I would love to hear your thoughts on this idea. Send us an e-mail or contact us on Facebook or Instagram

The Laser-guided Tattoo Pen

In a conversation with an apprentice tattooist, I got the wheels turning on an idea to have some kind of guidance system for artists to ensure they were making the right design, especially when it comes to straight lines, or specific geometric specifications. With Steph, we came up with the idea for a strap of some kind that would be fastened to the customer, which would then shoot out a laser line that would remain fixed to that location. We thought we were on to something when Toomas opined that a tattoo robot is surely the way forward on this. After a lot of back and forth, we decided that a tattoo robot surely will become a thing. Turns out it already is…

What do you think?

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